Healthy chicken by-products

carmen_grower_2007February 6, 2011

I thought of some of you yesterday as I separated three of our organic chickens. After I cut out my nice eight pieces from each chicken, I had a pot full of by-products (backs, necks, giblets, feet, and skin from the breasts.)

I covered this with water and reduced at a simmer for a couple of hours. Then, I separated the broth from the solids and the meat from the bones. I had a large amount of meat that will be used for pet food but many years ago, this would be my 'soup chicken'.

Why does anyone have a problem with by-products in pet food? What on earth do you think they are?

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murraysmom Zone 6 OH

Well, did you cook up the head, beak and feet of those chickens?

    Bookmark   February 6, 2011 at 9:09AM
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The issue I believe you are wrestling with is the ingredients list on manufactured dog foods. Is that right? The difference is simple. When a pet food manufacturer lists UN-NAMED 'by-products' it could be anything and usually is - feathers, beaks, rat's tails. See the difference? As long as the parts are NAMED, (chicken, beef) and are not the main source of protein, (chicken meal or chicken should lead the list) there's no issue. The parts you listed are fine. I too would feed them to my dogs as part of their diet. But don't be confused that the chicken parts you are feeding are the same as the 'by-products' in poor quality dog food. Hope that helps you.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2011 at 9:12AM
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The only chicken by-products I wouldn't feed my animals are feathers and digesta. Everything else is fair game in the raw diet I feed my dogs and cats. Of course since I don't raise chickens, I have no access to feet or heads, but I would feed them if I had them.


    Bookmark   February 6, 2011 at 10:32AM
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Fori is not pleased

Those aren't by-products!

    Bookmark   February 6, 2011 at 12:51PM
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No, I don't save the head and beak because there is no meat on them. The feet, however make a broth so rich that once cooled it is solid. Yum!

    Bookmark   February 6, 2011 at 2:34PM
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The head contains the brain, and the brain is categorized as a secreting organ for raw feeding purposes.

I may be mistaken, but I believe that both feathers and digesta fall into the category of "by-products" in commercial pet foods.


    Bookmark   February 6, 2011 at 3:45PM
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It depends. There are good by-products and bad by-products. Bad by-products are hair, feathers, and the like. Good by-products are intestinal lining, connective tissue, etc. And they are actually essential for good joint health since they contain glucosamine, chondroitin, and collagen.

Just because they don't list what by-products are in the ingredients doesn't mean that the food is bad. I called Iam and they only use quality chicken by-products in their food. I would still be feeding Iams to Ginger if she wasn't allergic to so many things.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2011 at 10:01AM
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I watched a program last year on cable about a company in California that makes a very popular dog food.

The only ingredient is cows stomachs. To include the contents.

Research what cows can or do eat.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2011 at 1:12PM
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"by-products are the non-rendered, clean parts, other than meat, derived from slaughtered mammals. It includes, but is not limited to, lungs, spleen, kidneys, brain, livers, blood, bone, partially defatted low temperature fatty tissue, and stomachs and intestines freed of their contents. It does not include hair, horns, teeth and hoofs. It shall be suitable for use in animal food. If it bears name descriptive of its kind, it must correspond thereto."

    Bookmark   February 8, 2011 at 10:45PM
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Thanks Meghane. That clears it up for me. All parts used are very nutritious and what an animal would be eating in the wild. Animals are not people -- we do not love all the foods animals love so there shouldn't be a comparison although that is what we tend to do (yep - me included).

Our domestic animals today have long happy healthy lives eating commercial dog food that we would not eat ourselves. One kind is not necessarily better because it is fit for humans.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2011 at 8:20AM
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I agree 100% carmen_grower. I would only say that organic is always better no matter what species you're serving, but beyond that you can't really make comparisons. Also just because people don't eat a particular part of an animal doesn't mean that we shouldn't or couldn't- it just means we think it's gross. Of course I think foi gras is gross so there's no accounting for taste even among the human species.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2011 at 8:58PM
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Or snails/oysters/etc.

I have a whippet(mix?) that has to have lamb and rice. She is also a very submissive dog and I have trouble sometimes getting her to eat. I feed dry/canned. In my experience(over 50 years of dog ownership), I found the best bang for my buck and have the healthiest dogs is to feed once a day and use Purina/Pedigree products. I had a chihuahua reach 20 on Pedigree and cancer caused his demise early. Most of my dogs live past 13 or so.

Now, Molly is a rescue and was nearly dead of starvation whn Max(our guard dog) picked her from the lineup. So, home came the most pitiful, abjectly abased dog with which I have ever been associated(and I worked for a vet for 4 years).

Her dietary problems were basically her allergy to beef/chicken.

So, I experiemnted and found Purina lamb and rice dry was a hit. Out of the four I tried, that was the brand she ate most readily. Alone. Adding several brands of canned lamp and rice proved unsud=ccessful;.

Then I tried Authority canned lamb and rice.

It looks like pate. Ugly looking and smelling.

I am aware most dog foods are foumulated to look like what people think dogs should like. Authority is the proof that is just marketing.

Now, Molly is on a diet. If I feed her too much, she gains weight quiclky. I do exercise her(she loves chasing soccer balls when I kick them), but at 64 and with arthritus, that is not always possible.

Long soapbox for being reminded her favorite canned looks like processed goose liver.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2011 at 1:55PM
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Many "wild" animals actually pass on the intestines. They know better.

Dogs and cats aren't wild animals.

What you cooked up is chicken soup! My grandmother used to save all the extra bits from chickens - except of course the intestines and feathers - and added it to chicken parts to make broth.

She made the best chicken soup ever.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2011 at 10:17PM
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That is so true! My cats leave intestines of little critters laying in the yard and even the dogs won't eat them. So, domestic animals are just as smart as wild ones about those nasties.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2011 at 8:26AM
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Watch lions/tigers/wolves/coyotes feed on a kill.

The gut is the first place the alphas start.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2011 at 2:12AM
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They pull out the guts and set it aside. They don't eat the intestines.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2011 at 4:23PM
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Talking about dog food and what all is put in it, I'd just like to know, wouldn't it be better for a dog to have real meat plus a few vegetable that are maybe your leftovers from a meal? It just makes more sense to me.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2011 at 7:07PM
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Most dog food is the equivalent of feeding a person beef jerky, white bread, and a vitamin pill and calling it 100% complete. Granted you won't die of any known nutritional deficiency but I don't think anyone would agree that is an optimal diet.

The more processed a food is the less nutrition it has. Dry foods are by definition highly processed, wet foods less processed. Fresh whole foods maintain all of their original goodness. They are better for us and better for pets.

That said, most people don't feed whole prey. If you feed a dog or cat just meat and vegetables, you will end up with rubbery bones and all kinds of badness. Balancing just the stuff we know is difficult but not impossible with the research and motivation. However just meat and veggies are a recipe for disaster.

My dogs like intestines;)

    Bookmark   February 27, 2011 at 8:25PM
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